Finally, we’re into late February, and we’re longing for a touch of Spring. Today, the view outside our window is one of snowy fields and leaden skies. The sun visited for a few hours yesterday afternoon but soon disappeared behind the clouds despite heartfelt requests that it stay around. Even some of the indoor plants are refusing to cooperate. An Amaryllis potted up with great expectations last fall has expended all its energy on long healthy leaves with nary a sign of a flower bud in the offing.
A few of the good old reliables are still providing colour, however, even if those colours come from bracts and not petals. What about “Christmas poinsettias that last into spring” – a little riff on the Julie Andrews’ song.
We’re grateful for this brilliant splash of colour indoors. The plant was bought as part of a fund-raiser for the Chester Playhouse in early December and is still brightening up the “indoor garden” in the last week of February.
Another carry-0ver from last fall is a Christmas cactus that put forth a full cascade of blooms in November but has come back for an encore in recent weeks. The strange white “stems” seen behind the flowers are actually roots from an orchid that has been gradually expanding its territory by sending out shoots across several other plants thriving congenially in a window nook. Perhaps a consultation with a Master Gardener is in order.
With a little TLC and a lot of luck, a Cyclamen like the one below will carry over for several years despite the vagaries of central heating, vacationing owners and other hazards.
Forcing blooms is one of the age-old methods of hurrying spring along. The forsythia branches below, cut about ten days ago, make a convincing statement about the forthcoming season.
Seen in close-up, the delicate forms of these “buttercup yellow” flowers on bare stems, are a reminder of nature’s promise of spring to come.
And for Chester gardeners who are eager to start planning this year’s garden, the NSAGC is offering extra Astilbe plants at an excellent price. All members in each club belonging to the provincial body will be eligible for one free Astilbe at this year’s convention, but members may also order additional plants (in our Club, through Sandy D). This fast-growing fragrant plant, “Younique Carmine”, bears beautiful fuchsia-red blooms. It is an early heavy bloomer, deer and rabbit resistant, and is excellent for the flower border or for planters. For more information, contact Sandy via email@example.com